By Shelley Sakala

The average family size in the United States is 2.5 people. But the average home size in Phoenix is three bedrooms. This tells us that many Phoenicians have been buying more house than they “need.” Of course, “need” is a relative term. These extra bedrooms are often used as guest rooms, craft rooms, home gyms, man caves, or home offices. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I came across some interesting numbers concerning home prices.

In Phoenix, the difference between the average 3-bedroom home and the average 4-bedroom home is $190,000. Obviously, there are other factors in play, including total square footage, garage size, and number of bathrooms. Yes, smaller homes typically sell for less money. But the numbers don’t lie: there is a significant price drop for homes with one fewer bedroom.

This pattern holds true in other cities around the Valley. In Anthem, the difference is $125,000. In Peoria, the difference is $130,000. And, in Cave Creek, it’s an average difference of $180,000. All things considered, that’s a pretty costly sum for a room no one sleeps in. If that weren’t enough, add in the interest, property taxes and insurance…and that 4th bedroom can cost you more than $400,000 over the life of the mortgage!

This got me thinking… What could a family do with $400,000?
• 30 awesome family vacations, plus a brand-new swimming pool
• Two kids through college, two amazing weddings, plus a brand-new motor home
• Four new iPhones every year for 30 thirty years plus four Chevy Tahoes
• Two Harley Davidsons plus a cabin in Prescott
• A 20-foot Bayliner boat plus four Cardinals season tickets for the next 40 years

By no means is this a judgment about anyone’s choice of home size. If your house suits your needs and you can afford it, then you should absolutely enjoy your residence – whatever size it may be. But if you’re looking for ways to cut costs or relocate to a neighborhood that’s above your budget, simply changing your home search parameters from “4-bedroom” to “3-bedroom” just might be the ticket.

Shelley Sakala is a local Realtor with The Sakala Group.